FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS REGARDING THE STIMULUS CHECKS IN THE U.S. DUE TO THE COVID-19 EPIDEMIC

04/08/2020

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act recently approved by the United States government provides financial assistance to individuals in order to ease the economic damages caused by the COVID-19 epidemic in the country, and the stimulus checks are supposed to start being distributed this current week.

If your 2018 tax return showed an income of $75,000 or less if you filed as an individual or $150,000 or less if you filed jointly, it is expected that you will receive payments of up to $1,200 per adult and $500 per dependent child.

Please note that if the IRS has your direct deposit information, there is no action requested from your part.

As expected, the criteria to determine who qualifies or not for the stimulus check raised questions among U.S. taxpayers. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions taken by the IRS at their website:

DO I NEED TO PAY FEDERAL INCOME TAX FOR THE STIMULUS PAYMENT?
You do not have to pay any tax for the stimulus payment.

I GET SOCIAL SECURITY AND DO NOT NORMALLY FILE A TAX RETURN. WHAT DO I DO?
According to the IRS, information Form SSA-1099 or Form RRB-1099 will be considered to generate the cash payments to people who file these forms. This includes senior citizens, Social Security recipients and railroad retirees who are not otherwise required to file a tax return.

CAN IMMIGRANTS WITH GREEN CARDS OR PEOPLE WITH NONIMMIGRANT VISAS IN THE U.S. SUCH AS H-1B AND H-2A RECEIVE PAYMENTS?
Yes, but only if they have a valid Social Security number. 

WE HAVE A NEWBORN. CAN HE/SHE QUALIFY FOR THE $500 CREDIT?
Yes, but not until you file your 2020 return next year. You’ll claim the $500 as a credit. Any change in status is likely to be remedied on the tax form you file next year.

MY 2019 INCOME WAS TOO HIGH TO QUALIFY FOR THE STIMULUS CHECK. BUT NOW I DON’T HAVE A JOB. WILL I GET ANY CASH?
Yes, you can get a stimulus payment based on your 2020 taxes if you earn a lower income in 2020 and did not get a stimulus payment based on 2019 returns. Therefore, you would get the credit when you file if your 2020 income is low enough.

I HAVE NO TAXABLE INCOME. WHAT DO I DO?
You will be able to file a simple form provided by the IRS specifically for the purpose of receiving the stimulus payment. The IRS will soon provide additional information instructing people on how to file the simple form that includes information such as their name, address, Social Security number, number of dependents, and direct deposit bank account information” on its website.

DO I GET THE $500 PER CHILD PAYMENT IF I’M DIVORCED?
Only the parental taxpayer claiming the child as a dependent will receive the $500.

MY CHILDREN GO TO COLLEGE. WILL I GET THE $500 PER CHILD PAYMENT FOR THEM?
Not as a dependent, unless your children are 16 or under. Only children 16 or under living at home qualify, and they have to meet certain conditions, such as they need to have lived with the adult for at least six months of the qualifying year.

WHAT IF I MAKE TOO MUCH THIS YEAR TO QUALIFY FOR THE PAYMENT—BUT MADE ENOUGH LAST YEAR SO THAT I DO GET A STIMULUS PAYMENT—DO I NEED TO RETURN IT?
There is no penalty for receiving a stimulus payment based on a lower income on 2019 or 2018 tax returns. If the filer is given too much, the IRS will not penalize them.

For more questions and answers regarding the
Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act
and the stimulus checks information,
please check the “Coronavirus bulletin.”

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